Make Room For The Stuttering

More Stuttering Heaven

Posted on: July 19, 2009

Friday morning of the NSA Conference started with the Toastmasters Demo workshop, which I helped to facilitate. That was a lot of fun. A young girl gave her first ever speech and she was quite impressive. A covert guy made his 7th speech and stole the show with his energy and poise. We had newcomers try Table Topics questions, and we had good questions at the end. People who stutter are definitely looking to come out of their comfort zones by trying Toastmasters.

The Friday morning keynote speaker was also very good. A young man from St Louis who works as an on-air radio talk show person spoke about his journey with stuttering. His speech was wonderfully entertaining and inspirational, although he hardly stuttered at all. Spoke mostly about his childhood difficulties with stuttering and missed opportunities due to stuttering. I heard some buzz later in day and evening that maybe its not a good thing to have someone deliver a keynote to stutterers if he/she is not going to stutter. Can be thought about in many ways, certainly!

Friday afternoon was the Stuttertalk Podcast Live workshop. Two programs were recorded, with a total of four guest panelists (including me!) working with hosts Peter and Eric. The workshop was scheduled for three hours and the hope was that it would be a packed room. It turned out to be a small crowd, but one that allowed for more audience participation. Audience members asked lots of questions and good stuttering dialogue was recorded. Watch for these episodes to be posted soon on These guys continue to do amazing work to educate the stuttering community. I was very happy to be included, as a good friend of Stuttertalk.

I will admit that I missed the early action on Saturday morning. Stayed up very late on Friday night enjoying the peace and tranquility of the pool area and chatting for hours with new friends. I made a supreme sacrifice by choosing to miss Saturday morning speakers. I did catch the tail end of the second keynote address, a motivational speech from a fluent speaker.

Saturday afternoon, I attended the Covert Panel workshop, which was what  helped me to finally realize the impact of hiding stuttering for so long. That first Covert Panel I attended in 2006 was about me. Sure, they used someone else’s name, but the story was mine. So, this year, I listened to the emotional stories of Evan, Hannah and Bob as they told of the enormous struggle to keep stuttering hidden. This was the workshop where the emotions welled up most for me, where the tears formed and lodged tightly in my throat and chest. I didn’t want anyone to see how much it was effecting me, to see and hear others who have shared my same pain with covert stuttering.

The last workshop for me on Saturday was the one I facilitated with friend and roommate Patrice. We talked about “Pushing Past the Fear”, and how everyday fears we have parallel the fears we have about stuttering moments. By design, we had lots of audience participation and good sharing. One young woman even shared publicly how she had been so fearful of leaving an abusive relationship, and finally found the courage and a way to push past it and do what was right for her. Her honest share really hit home with me. I was so proud of her. We hung around a few minutes afterwards and talked about what her life is like now. It was a good workshop, sometimes good to talk about other things in our life. Several people commented that they especially liked how every person in the room felt included, as we were not just gearing toward stuttering.

It was a great conference, a really impactful one. I was totally immersed in the experience and felt free to explore my feelings and meet other people. And that I did. I really wanted to meet others who I had not met yet,and I far exceeded that personal goal. But I will also admit to sharing the most time with one particular person. For whatever reason, we hit it off, and wound up talking and stuttering together for hours. We sat by the fire and sat by the pool, and never tired of talking about our feelings and fears. There is something to be said for real open and honest communication.

It frees the soul.

Don’t you wish you had been there? I still have goosebumps thinking of the  more emotional moments, and there were many!

3 Responses to "More Stuttering Heaven"

Pam, again thank you so much for putting the video on to youtube. I am starting to get videos going at our toastmasters club and out on youtube. We need to connect more to the world around us, and it isn’t just a stutter thing.
This conference was my best. I am so glad I met you. I hope all is well.

Same here – awesome meeting you, and seeing you step so far out of your comfort zone. Pretty soon, neither of us will have any use for the word covert anymore.
Connecting to the world around us is so special, and easy to do witht he technology at our disposal.

Surely missed being there, wish I had those opportunities instead of sitting here in my own little world feeling victimized by stuttering and scared as hell that my life is’nt really going anywhere and why, partly becasue of stuttering.

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© Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering, 2009 - 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela A Mertz and Make Room For The Stuttering with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Same protection applies to the podcasts linked to this blog, "Women Who Stutter: Our Stories" and "He Stutters: She Asks Him." Please give credit to owner/author Pamela A Mertz 2022.
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